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The state will soon offer the COVID-19 vaccine at participating CVS pharmacies. The scheduling system is opening in counties with CVS locations who are part of the partnership with the federal government. The first allotment for the drug store giant is 250,000 doses. But only about 82,000 doses are coming to 100 California CVS pharmacies. Some of those could be located inside Target stores. They’re scheduling your first and second dose at the same time and give you a vaccination card to bring for the second dose. CVS reports appointments will be weekly and fill up quickly. They’re getting what’s available of both the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Once they get more doses, patients will be able to see which vaccine it is that they have. CVS says they hope to eventually get vaccine doses at almost all of their nearly 10,000 pharmacies.

The first 2 cases of the strong mutant variant of COVID19 from South Africa have emerged in Calif. The Governor announced yesterday the state is doing much better as a whole, but the two cases surfaced in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, both in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The word is the mutant strains are more contagious and may be less responsive to treatments and vaccines. The one from South Africa apparently doesn’t respond to at least one vaccine. Gov. Newsom says the mutations are top of mind. He’s been traveling the state as of late to talk about vaccines. He says infection rates, hospitalizations and cases are all on the decline. But the state has passed New York, hit hard early in the pandemic, for the number of deaths. 

A man from Ukiah has been arrested after a report of a sexual assault on a passed out female victim. The Sheriff’s Office reports it happened in Willits Tuesday. And that they arrested 27 year old Cody Martin for assaulting a 28 year old woman with a foreign object after the two drank a bunch of booze the night before. Deputies report the woman went into a bedroom and closed the door and fell asleep. But says she was awakened by someone touching her and says it was Cody Martin, an ex-boyfriend. Deputies say he took his clothes off then got in bed with the woman and took her clothes off and assaulted her with an unknown object or body part without consent. He’s arrested and held on $50,000.00 bail.

The Lake County Small Business COVID19 Recovery Team continues helping local companies since the pandemic started. The team was put together last year to help businesses get access to relief funding programs, including the State’s California Relief Grants and the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The County of Lake, Cities of Clearlake and Lakeport, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Economic Development Corporation and Middletown Area Merchants Association are part of the Recovery Team. They sent a letter to the state to urge equitable shares of grant money for Lake County businesses, an equitable share of grant funding for California’s Rural Counties and for the state to consider the “economic weight” a business carries as they prioritize the distribution of funds.

A string of burglaries and vandalism is being investigated in Mendocino County. The Sheriff’s Office reports looking into incidents in remote areas of Pine Ridge Road and Low Gap Road the last several weeks. They’re asking anyone who knows anything to give them a call, a picture of a possible suspect has been posted at Mendofever.com. You can then call the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center if you know who it is. 

The largest utility in the state plans a town hall for residents in Lake and Napa counties to help mitigate fire risk. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is gathering input from the public and will share their work in hard hit areas next week. The meeting online next Wednesday at noon.  Representatives will cover PG&E’s wildfire prevention activities, 2020 Public Safety Power Shutoff events and local vegetation management efforts.

The meeting is at noon Feb. 17th. Click to join: bit.ly/3qHRZQY. Or dial-in: 866-501-6088; the conference ID is 5650398.

To access the virtual safety town hall or view recordings of past wildfire safety webinars you can also visit www.pge.com/firesafetywebinars.

California has surpassed New York for the number of deaths related to coronavirus. There have been 44,995 deaths in the state. Another 518 yesterday alone. New York was hit hard in the beginning of the pandemic, and again over the holidays. California was likewise hit hard over the holidays and had a surge over the summer too. New York has had 44,851 deaths. And Texas is gaining on the two states with nearly 40,300. But the deaths are starting to decline and cases are leveling off across the country. Most of the deaths in Calif. have been in counties of Southern California, accounting for 70% of the statewide total, led by Los Angeles County, then Riverside County, Orange County and finally, San Diego County.

The Governor and the legislature have a plan for elementary school reopening protocols. But it’s still up to local jurisdictions as to what they do. The Governor said this week the youngest children can safely go to school in “small cohorts.” But many teachers unions want their teachers to get vaccinated first, which has been a priority in ongoing negotiations for many districts. Some districts say all of the teachers who have wanted to take a vaccine have gotten it, others say some have received first doses and are waiting for second doses before reopening and still others like in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties say they’re not sure when their teachers might get vaccinated. Each district has different vaccination policies it seems. In Mendocino County, Ukiah is opening Tuesday, Fort Bragg the next week and Willits in March.

Another death from coronavirus has been reported in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office announced another 28 cases of COVID-19 too. The 40th death was an elderly man in the South Coast region. A Public Health spokeswoman says it “marks a grim milestone for our community” the death of “an 81-year-old American Indian male” who died at a hospital.  The public health office defines the region as including the communities of Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala. They remind us to “continue to avoid gatherings, even if you have been vaccinated. One can still spread the virus even if they have been vaccinated, so social distancing is still key.”

There’s now a Calif. variant of coronavirus and it’s in Lake and Marin counties. The Press Democrat reports the Sonoma County Public Health Office says the variant appears to be the globally dominant strain of coronavirus which first surfaced just over a year ago in Wuhan, China. There have been various strains now, one from the UK and another from South Africa which appears to be resistant to vaccines. The new Calif. variant is being called B1429 and is part of the “second wave” of the virus, which started after the holidays. The Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says there were two other strains of concern, and this one is “of interest”. It was first detected in Los Angeles last July and had a minimal amount of spread, but then in November, it took off, all the way out as far as New York City, South Carolina and Seattle.

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